Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Integrated watershed-scale response to climate change for selected basins across the United States

March 16, 2012

A study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) evaluated the hydrologic response to different projected carbon emission scenarios of the 21st century using a hydrologic simulation model. This study involved five major steps: (1) setup, calibrate and evaluated the Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) model in 14 basins across the United States by local USGS personnel; (2) acquire selected simulated carbon emission scenarios from the World Climate Research Programme's Coupled Model Intercomparison Project; (3) statistical downscaling of these scenarios to create PRMS input files which reflect the future climatic conditions of these scenarios; (4) generate PRMS projections for the carbon emission scenarios for the 14 basins; and (5) analyze the modeled hydrologic response. This report presents an overview of this study, details of the methodology, results from the 14 basin simulations, and interpretation of these results. A key finding is that the hydrological response of the different geographical regions of the United States to potential climate change may be different, depending on the dominant physical processes of that particular region. Also considered is the tremendous amount of uncertainty present in the carbon emission scenarios and how this uncertainty propagates through the hydrologic simulations.

Publication Year 2012
Title Integrated watershed-scale response to climate change for selected basins across the United States
DOI 10.3133/sir20115077
Authors Steven L. Markstrom, Lauren E. Hay, D. Christian Ward-Garrison, John C. Risley, William A. Battaglin, David M. Bjerklie, Katherine J. Chase, Daniel E. Christiansen, Robert W. Dudley, Randall J. Hunt, Kathryn M. Koczot, Mark C. Mastin, R. Steven Regan, Roland J. Viger, Kevin C. Vining, John F. Walker
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2011-5077
Index ID sir20115077
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Branch of Regional Research-Central Region